It looks a bit like the historical presentations the Vincent House has done in the past. It has a 1920s, prohibition-era setting, and features actors playing prominent Webster City historical figures. But this Vincent House dinner has a more sinister side to it.
"Somebody's going to be killed that night," said event organizer Barb Thompson.
The Vincent House will host its first-ever murder mystery dinner on Oct. 13, featuring both historical accuracy and made-up theatrics.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
As Bonnie Parker, played by Ashley Mlodzik, left, and Carrie Nation, portrayed by Barb Thompson, display their weapons of choice, the ghost of the murder mystery victim walks by behind them. The murder mystery dinner theater will be held at the Vincent House and features both historical and fictional characters. Parker was half of Bonnie and Clyde; Nation was a temperance movement activist known for attacking saloons with an ax.
"We're not going to let the facts get in the way of a good story," said Thompson, who created the night's scenario. "There's going to be plenty of history it's based on, but then we launch from that, and some of it is going to go a little crazy."
The story goes that Webb and Katherine Vincent, owners of the Vincent House, are away and have allowed prominent Fort Dodgers John Kime and O.M. Oleson to host a dinner party at the mansion.
Guests at the party include real historical figures and fictional characters, who will mingle among the tables greeting guests and serving the three-course meal.
If you go:
Murder Mystery and Meal
WHEN: Social hour begins at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Oct. 13
WHERE: Vincent House, 824 Third Ave. S.
RESERVATIONS are needed, as seating is limited. Call the YWCA at 573-3931 ext. 202. Cost is $20 per person.
The menu will include lasagna, salad, garlic bread sticks, dessert and wine, prepared and served by the Vincent House Committee and friends.
"What I did was I used some real characters," Thompson said. "I learned about them from local historian Roger Natte and just doing a little research on my own. So there's some prominent people in Fort Dodge or Webster County history, like Dr. John Kime and O.M. Oleson.
"There's also famous characters that were rumored to or actually did have a role to play in Webster County, like Carrie Nation, the temperance movement radical; and Bonnie Barker, of Bonnie and Clyde, the gangsters. They supposedly made a raid on three gas stations in Fort Dodge."
The characters will deliver lines and improvise to give the audience idea of the motive or weapons used. Audience participation will be a big part of the show.
"Those that want to will be given some lines to actually speak," she said. "Each table is going to give their best guess as to who is the murderer."
Two weeks before the show, many of the characters still didn't know a lot of the details.
"Right now I don't know who bad guy is, and I don't even know who got killed," said Mark Thompson, who will portray O.M. Oleson.
"She won't tell us till that night, who the killer is" said Shaunna Abrams, who plays Sara Kime.
Abrams is a member of the events committee, while Mark Thompson got involved because he's married to Barb Thompson.
"My wife is the ringleader. She needed somebody else and roped me in," he said.
"The people who come for dinner will get to hear from all the suspects. I'm sure we'll all accuse each other and state our own innocence," he added.
"I'm Sarah Kime. I'm the wife of Dr. John Kime," Abrams said in character. "I also studied medicine and assisted my husband at the Wraywood TB sanitarium. My hobbies are playing bridge; I'm very competitive, and I hate to lose."
And, Abrams said, her character "tells her closest friend that playing bridge is a great way to diffuse the marital tensions pent up in everyday life."
Another wrinkle in the story comes from the fictitious Albert Cornell, played by Joe Tyrrell.
"He's a bookkeeping instructor at Tobin Business College in Fort Dodge. His deal is, he's in love with Dr. Kime's daughter Marian, but Dr. Kime is not going to give him permission to marry his daughter," Tyrrell said.
Barb Thompson said her scenario was related to a common interview question: if you could have dinner with anyone from the past, who would it be?
"It was just fun to think if these people really did get together, what might the scenario be?" she said.
"We just hope people will come back with us to the 1920s, and prohibition, and all the people who were trying to work around the law."